From The Editor

‘You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’

Vicky Boyd

In the song “Big Yellow Taxi,” Joni Mitchell sings, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” The COVID pandemic has reinforced this notion. Many things we used to take for granted, like in-person grower meetings and field days, disappeared overnight. As social creatures, most humans need personal interactions. We tried to ... Read More »

Still flying after 100 years

Vicky Boyd

Crop dusting had its roots in 1921 when Lt. John A. Macready piloted a modified Curtis JN-6 Super Jenny while passenger Etienne Dormoy dispensed lead arsenate from a crude metal hand-cranked hopper bolted to the plane’s fuselage. C.R. Nellie, an Ohio Department of Agriculture entomologist, had come up with the idea for crop dusting to control sphinx moth larvae in ... Read More »

Supervillain grassy weeds vs. ‘Kryptonite’: Who will win?

Vicky Boyd

If the weed kingdom had a band of supervillains, barnyardgrass and watergrass would surely be members. These species that belong to the genus Echinochloa wield super powers and are the bane of rice growers. Herbicides, once the Kryptonite for these grassy invaders, have lost their super powers in many instances as the weeds have developed resistance. With only a few ... Read More »

The industry has had enough changes for a while

Vicky Boyd

Change is inevitable, they say, and with the start of 2021 comes a number of shifts. Dr. Mo Way, who for 38 years has been at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center at Beaumont, will retire and ride into the sunset with wife Jeanie in February. The university already has posted a job notice for an assistant professor of rice ... Read More »

‘Semper Gumby’ took on new meaning in 2020

Vicky Boyd

The Marines have a motto, “Semper fidelis,” which means always faithful or always loyal. A twist on that is “Semper Gumby,” the motto of Marine parents that means always flexible, according to a former coworker whose son served. Considering the strange twists and turns this year has taken, those Marine parents may be onto something. Farming has always required flexibility ... Read More »

#stillfarming

Vicky Boyd

Several groups have taken to social media using the hashtag #stillfarming to let consumers know that agriculture is one of 16 essential business structures and that farmers continue to grow food during the coronavirus pandemic. As some farmers I know have joked, they’ve been social distancing alone in their tractor cabs for years, so self-isolating is nothing new. All joking ... Read More »

Groundwater: out of sight but not out of mind

Vicky Boyd

Buried deep below the soil surface, groundwater may be out of sight. Increasingly, though, the natural resource is anything but out of mind. Several efforts, both voluntary and regulatory, are ongoing to try to reduce groundwater overdraft and increase recharge. How these will affect agriculture remains to be seen and may not be known for years to come. Arkansas completed ... Read More »

Biennial rice meeting spurs open exchange of research info

Vicky Boyd

Every two years, rice researchers and allied industry representatives from around the United States and even the globe get together for a meeting of the minds at the Rice Technical Working Group. For two days, they share research results and discuss future studies focusing exclusively on rice. This year, more than 300 attended the 38th annual RTWG, which was hosted ... Read More »

New plant-based lobbying groups bear watching

Vicky Boyd

On its surface, the announcement that a new group has formed to lobby on behalf of plant-based consumers and business may seem innocuous enough. After all, rice is a plant that enjoys popularity not only for its worldwide dietary contributions but also for its positive environmental footprint here in the United States. But read further, and the goals of the ... Read More »

Program provides leadership succession planning

Vicky Boyd

As I looked out at the attendees of the recent rice leadership program alumni dinner in Little Rock, Arkansas, I couldn’t help but notice how many of today’s leaders were graduates of the program. Possibly even more heartening was the large number of young people who had recently completed the program and were poised to take on industry leadership rolls. ... Read More »